Juan Cole Slander Project: Of Course They Did It


Juan.Cole.photo-thumb-400x400.jpgWhile I am deeply disturbed by former CIA analyst Glenn Carle‘s recent revelations that there was a White House-directed appeal to the CIA to dig up dirt on my friend and blogging comrade Juan Cole, I am not surprised at all by this news.
The George W. Bush administration ignored the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq and invaded nonetheless; went after Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame — lying about who did what and who knew what at very high levels of government; created a Kafkaesque international legal purgatory in Guantanamo where normal rules didn’t apply and where torture became a routenized part of managing high value detainees; and engaged in massive domestic spying on US citizens. We learned that many retired US Generals and Admirals hired out to US news organizations like Fox were given talking points and retainers by the Pentagon to not provide objective analysis but be ‘seemingly’ independent talking heads controlled by the Department of Defense.
So some in the CIA and White House wanted to slander and undermine blogging irritant Juan Cole for the uncomfortable material he would offer on his blog – much of which was reporting what was actually appearing in the Middle East press but not reaching American media.
Am I surprised?? Not at all.
Of course the government did this to Cole and perhaps others. Governments that begin fabricating lies and distorting norms of the American political system don’t know where to stop and quickly become corrupt and abusive.
Kudos to Glenn Carle, and to some degree former National Intelligence Council Chairman David Gordon, for recounting what they saw happen. Hopefully these revelations will inhibit slander projects against others.
And as always, read Juan Cole’s Informed Comment — whose stock value will go even further up after this sordid effort to undermine him.
Many in that administration owe Cole an apology — and Yale University which ended up withdrawing a job offer that it had extended to Cole after receiving significant conservative pressure should also investigate whether they played a role in the CIA’s slander project.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Juan Cole Slander Project: Of Course They Did It

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Mandible…thanks..encouraging to know some people just won’t do something they know is wrong.


  2. Mandible says:

    Democracy Now! did a great interview today with Professor Juan
    Cole and Glenn Carle, the former CIA agent who was instructed to
    conduct an investigation on Cole. It was really interesting to see
    them interviewed together. Professor Cole talked about his
    experience as a target of the CIA, and Carle explained why he
    refused to continue the investigation. Check it out here:


  3. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Is anyone surprised????..Wasn’t this the sort of thing that warrantless wiretapping was meant to accomplish?…Doesn’t the President alone now have the power to declare anyone an enemy combatant and send them off to oblivion without a trace, thanks to Busholini? Obummer’s not far behind with his anti-whistle-blower stance and imprisonment of Bradley Manning…..no one is above the law except for Presidents, it seems.


  4. Adam P Holland says:

    Although I understand why Steve Clemons isn’t
    surprised that the Bush administration might have
    done this, the fact that a reliable source now
    says publicly that they did is not only
    surprising, it should be historic. It demands
    investigation by an appropriate government agency.
    Rather than being complacent about crimes that we
    assume the government commits, we should use this
    opportunity to push for more information and for
    enforcement of the pertinent laws. Those with
    knowledge of these events should be put under oath
    and asked specific questions about who did what.
    This story is far more important than the news
    media have understood.
    As far as the previous comments portraying the NY
    Times as an unreliable, neo-con monolith because
    they published Judy Miller…where can I begin?
    To view the Times (or, for that matter, a
    government agency) as a monolith shows a real lack
    of understanding concerning the nature of how
    these powerful institutions really work. Did you
    ever hear someone express absolute opposition to
    the CIA at the same time they cite Joe Wilson and
    Valerie Plame as heroes? Same with the Times.
    It’s a big place with a lot of voices and a range
    of opinions. To claim that the Times was ever a
    neo-con paper is just wrong. That they erred with
    Miller would hardly be controversial within the
    Times itself at this point. Even at the time her
    Iraq reporting was being published there, what she
    wrote WAS controversial within the Times.
    The idea that people need to constantly categorize
    everyone as either friend or enemy leads to a
    breakdown of coherent public conversation about
    complex issues. Isn’t that, after all, an
    important part of what the Bush administration got
    wrong? They not only couldn’t tolerate any
    argument contrary to what they believed, they
    couldn’t tolerate views that portrayed the world
    in more complex terms than they saw it. Worse,
    they were all to willing to counter views which
    differed from theirs with smears and lies instead
    of sound arguments. Ultimately, their failures
    were as much rooted in their failure to adequately
    contend with differing ideas as with the flaws in
    their own ideas.


  5. sheldon vogt says:

    Fairly stinks of Cheney and Addington.


  6. ... says:

    “Of course the government did this to Cole and perhaps others.”
    what does that say about your government?
    as johnh points out in his comment – obama is taking it a step further with his war on whistle blowers…


  7. David says:

    Simple, straightforward, and dead on. Very well said, Steve. Anyone who remembers what was done to the actress who portrayed Joan of Arc is hard pressed to be surprised by anything an out-of-control administration with no respect for basic human decency when they feel somehow justified will do. Something really does go awry with their moral compasses. But Juan Cole is still standing, and Yale does need to do a little soul-searching.


  8. Bill Pearlman says:

    Whether you regard the war power act has consitutional or not the facts of the matter are clear. Obama, Mr “hope and change” the anti-Bush. Shredded it and then pissed on the remains. An intersting and ironic turn of events.


  9. Kathleen says:

    Latest over at Cole’s about this. Salon, Huff Po, Crooks and liars, Firedoglake, Mondoweiss all had pieces up about the CIA allegedly going after Cole.
    Steve hope you share your perspective and experience at Netroots Nation? Think this is your first time
    Phillip over at Mondoweiss went for his first time


  10. rc says:

    Same out of control government exceptionalist attitudes that are highlighted in this panel which includes Justice Goldstone.
    Terrorism & Int’l Law: Accountability, Reform & Remedies (Open Society Foundations)
    Increasingly, ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ are just abstract arbitrary terms of convenience in states operating beyond democratic values.
    President Obama’s rejection of the views of two top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department on the legal authority to continue American military participation in the war in Libya without Congressional authorization — like his continuation of the Gitmo Bay — is just a continuation of this degenerate trend.


  11. Phil Perspective says:

    It’s very weird. The same outfit that prints The Pentagon Papers does stuff like that. It makes you really wonder.


  12. rc says:

    No, what is moving fast is speed of change in the Saudi Family’s Arabian oil estate — women are revolting and starting to drive cars on the roads!
    What the Wahhabi!!!
    The males might start getting aroused!
    Stop this before they get the strange idea they should vote as well!
    Women in Saudi Arabia have been openly driving cars in defiance of an official ban on female drivers in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
    The direct action has been organised on social network sites, where women have been posting images and videos of themselves behind the wheel.
    The Women2Drive Facebook page said the direct action would continue until a royal decree reversed the ban.
    Last month, a woman was arrested after uploading a video of herself driving.
    Manal al-Sherif was accused of “besmirching the kingdom’s reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion”, but was released after 10 days having promised not to drive again. …
    Besmirching the kingdom’s reputation? … what reputation? Autocracy? Under-age sex slaves? Amputated hands?


  13. JohnH says:

    Interestingly enough, Juan Cole himself is known to stifle legitimate discussion on his own blog! Recently, three of my comments, including this one, have been suppressed.
    The first asked the simple question:


  14. Bill Pearlman says:

    What makes you think that Juan Cole is so important that Bush would even know his name.


  15. JohnH says:

    Are we to assume that Bush III (AKA Obama) is behaving any differently? If his reaction to whistle blowers is any indication, Obama does not take kindly to dissent.


  16. Kathleen says:

    Story moving fast through the blogosphere. Up at Hufftington Post, Firedoglake, Mondoweiss.
    Just up Juan Cole asking for investigation
    Why would Risen feed this critical story through the bloody New York Times. You remember the very msm outlet that allowed Judy “I was fucking right” Miller to use false intelligen


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